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Post-Mortem Surface Features in Larger Foraminiferan Archaias Angulatus as Paleoenvironmental Indicator

Theresa L. Cottey

Larger foraminifera are major contributors to sand-sized carbonate sediments. Archaias angulatus (Fichtel and Moll) is the dominant larger foraminiferan in the Caribbean region. A taphonomic study of this species revealed several stages of preservation from newly unaltered tests to complete destruction of outer calcite layers. Tests collected from contrasting environments in Key Largo, Florida, show different paths of degradation. Impact features and secondary growths predominate on tests collected from well-sorted sediments of the open platform, whereas dissolution features are most common on tests from the calm, muddy environment of Largo Sound. Tests from the open platform show major breakage, abundant scratches, and small, randomly spaced holes. Tests from Largo Sound show little breakage, few scratches, and loss of entire sections of the outer wall. Microborings are present on tests from both environments. This study shows that postmortem alterations of surface textures of larger foraminifera may be useful indicators of paleoenvironments of deposition.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.